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TIN news:    Ports in Saudi Arabia are well on the way to becoming world scale, world class facilities, delegates will hear at this year’s TOC Middle East conference to be held on 8-9 December 2015 at the Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Dubai, UAE.
Saudi Arabia is an economic giant of the Middle East Gulf and fittingly has some of the largest ports in the region. However, these ports are undergoing a period of transformation. The Kingdom’s position over decades as the world’s largest supplier of crude oil meant that most of its ports were designed to handle bulk liquids and project cargoes.
Although on a steadily upward path, Saudi Arabia’s container throughput still amounted to just 6.7 million TEU in 2013, according to the World Bank. But a growing middle class and youthful demographic profile has provided the impetus for the Kingdom to generate heavy investment in state-of-the-art container facilities.
Conscious of the need to provide top class commercial facilities, Saudi Ports Authority embarked on a privatization programme, working closely with private sector investors and operators to ready the country’s port sector for today’s shipping landscape.
The Saudi government has also announced plans to invest some $30bn in upgrading port and other related logistics facilities to enhance the capacity and competitiveness of the Kingdom’s ports as more and more ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) cascade onto maritime trades and container shipping lines group together in more powerful alliances.
Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) is on the way to becoming a major maritime hub on the Red Sea. The aim is to capture a larger port share of the major Asia-Europe container trades as well as establish best-in-class import-export facilities for Saudi Arabia’s rapidly growing container volumes as the economy diversifies from its historical base of primary commodities towards more manufactured goods.
Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), which opened in 2009, has added an additional 1.8m TEU of capacity, and regularly handles calls by ULCVs. Two other large terminals are also in Jeddah Islamic Port. Dubai’s DP World operates the South Container Terminal and while Sharjah-based Gulftainer operates the port’s largest container facility Northern Container Terminal (NCT).
NCT achieved throughput of 1.9 million TEU in 2014. Spread over an area of over 1.1 million m2, NCT has seven operating berths on a quay length of 1,700m with maximum operating alongside draft of 15.2m. With 11 quay cranes, the terminal is also equipped with an advanced IT system and support infrastructure that have assisted in continuously improving its productivity levels. The terminal also follows several innovative operational techniques which include the twin lift, tandem lift and dual cycle operations, which are aimed to improve the average crane, berth and yard productivity levels. In addition to NCT, Gulftainer operates terminal in Jubail on Saudi Arabia’s east coast.
JIP faces competition, however, from King Abdullah Port (KAP), 100km to the north of Jeddah. KAP is the first privately owned and funded Saudi port. Current capacity of the port is 3 million TEU. But the port masterplan projects capacity of 20 million TEU by 2025. In October 2015, the largest vessel in the world, the 19,224 TEU MSC Maya docked at KAP, making it the latest in regular ULCV calls at the port.
High level speakers
TOC Middle East 2015 includes a number of speakers who will outline latest developments in Saudi ports, including: H.E. Musaad Al Drees, Director General, Saudi Ports Authority; Abdullah M. Hameedadin, Managing Director, King Abdullah Port; and Jay New, CEO and General Manager, International Ports Services – Dammam.
Elsewhere on the agenda an impressive speaker line-up is ready to walk delegates through the most critical issues in the regional maritime space, including the Outlook for the Middle East Shipping & Port Sector, the Re-emergence of Iran into International Maritime Networks, Connectivity between the Middle East and Emerging Markets in South Asia and Africa, and Port Security.
TOC Middle East promises two whole days of high level executive briefings, with first class networking opportunities for industry peers to meet and do business.
The event’s new venue is Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, a hidden haven that enjoys an idyllic verdant setting in a city location, yet just a few minutes from Dubai International Airport.

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